By Susan Scutti
A suspected poacher illegally hunting African elephants was trampled to death by his prey in Charara National Park near Lake Kariba in northwestern Zimbabwe, the country's state-controlled Sunday Mail reported. Authorities said Manjoro and his accomplice, Noluck Tafuruka, 29, went into the park looking for elephants when one of the animals apparently attacked.
The remains of Solomon Manjoro were found by rangers. Tafuruka and another man, Godfrey Shonge, 52, were reportedly arrested in connection with the incident. The magistrate was told Manjoro and Tafuruka had entered the National Park with the sole intention of poaching.
An international ban on the ivory trade was established in 1989, but poachers still strip elephants of their ivory tusks. The Wildlife Conservation Society estimates that some 25,000 African elephants are killed each year.
The death toll spiked again last week, when, amid political chaos, poachers fired on forest elephants inside the Dzanga-Ndoki National Park, a World Heritage Site in the Central African Republic, as reported by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Following the retreat of poachers on May 8, ecoguards explored Dzanga Bai, a large clearing where it is known anywhere from 50 to 200 elephants gather at any given time for the mineral salts. The ecoguards found more than 26 elephant carcasses: 20 adults and four youngsters in the clearing itself and two in the river nearby. All their tusks had been hacked off.
The group of 17 heavily armed poachers presented themselves as members of the transitional Séléka government but they were of Sudanese origin, alleged the WWF. Séléka, which means "union" in the local Sango language, ousted former Central African Republic President François Bozizé in March. An alliance of seven opposition groups, the Séléka government has failed to bring peace to the country. More....